Boonen starts Tour preparation

Tom Boonen is now preparing for the Tour de France step by step, after a "well-deserved and welcome...

Tom Boonen is now preparing for the Tour de France step by step, after a "well-deserved and welcome rest". His last race was Paris-Roubaix, where he finished sixth, nearly a minute behind winner Stuart O'Grady.

That race was followed by a crash of his Lamborghini, when he swerved to avoid a cat. The Belgian was scheduled to ride in the Scheldeprijs Vlaanderen, his hometown race, but had to cancel his appearance due to an intestinal infection.

Writing on his website, tomboonen.com, he said he needed the break. "This had to do with the shit that has come down on me because I didn't win Paris-Roubaix or the Tour of Flanders. For some people, this meant I had a bad spring, and that criticism has affected me."

He took advantage of his time off. "I rested a lot," he said, "and got things into place again. Taking perspective was something I had to learn again.

"Because of the fine weather I stayed one more week with my parents. I had the opportunity to talk to my friends again. Right now, I'll be gearing up for the Tour. One step at the time, I am eager again!"

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